Teachers Connect
Jul 16, 2015

Institute 1: Final Project & Productive Questions

Productive questions get students to look beneath the surface of ideas. It requires moving away from assumptions and familiar thoughts, and staying with the questions as one works to comprehend and then act on them. You might ask students, “what is the purpose of your writing” (beyond a required assignment). And, if this particular ideas is the purpose of my writing, then how does my “vessel” in the form of a book serve the purpose of the writing, or vice versa? What are the ways the elements of art could be varied to enhance the final project? Of course, the questions might be asked in a more simple manner, but in asking the questions, and asking students to stay with the questions, the art project then becomes a true integration of writing and art as well as of critical thinking – three goals of this curriculum.

How can you carve out time in the busy school schedule to ask similar questions and then give time for students to think about them in relationship to their projects?

20 Responses to Institute 1: Final Project & Productive Questions

  1. Viviana Scott says:

    Exit slips are a great way for students to think just a little further about their learning. They’re quick and simple and the teacher is able to assess if his/ her students got the information or can figure out what stuck out the most within a lesson.  Another way self-reflection can be accomplished during a busy day day is through a journal. Students can keep a journal at home that can be checked on a weekly basis or it can be kept with the classroom and when a student has completed an assignment early, they can write in their journal. As the teacher, you can write a question on the board or hand out a strip of paper with the question. yhis takes very minimal time. Within the journal, the student can write down an idea in a long or short form or even by drawing.

  2. zell rosenfelt says:

    I agree with everything Viviana has said about journals and exit slips that ask “What have I learned.” Journal writing is for reflection.
    But I also think that this same purpose can be incorporated into a rubric for a project. By giving credit (maybe 15 to 20 percent) for reflecting on what they have done, how they have done it, and what they have learned, we make reflection a fundamental part of the learning process. If you can’t take time to reflect on your life experience, what good is it?

    • Kathleen Anderson says:

      I like your idea about reflection as part of the critique and agree heartily withhour last sentence.

  3. Stephanie Greene says:

    When my older students (4th and 5th graders) come into the media center, I like to have a question on the board that asks the students to reflect on last week’s lesson. I put a sticky note and pencil at each four top and require each table to answer the question as a group, write it, then present it. Sometimes, it is an evaluation of how the lesson went last week…sometimes, it is a summary of what we did. Other time, I provide a quick exit ticket with a question that allows the students a chance to connect what we did in class to something authentic. I have also tried journals. Next year, I would like to try having each student pose a question on the sticky notes about the last lesson and then discuss one or two. The students need to practice formulating and posing questions.

    • Kathleen Anderson says:

      Thank you for your comments..I like that reflection seems to have become a part of what happens in the classroom. I have not heard of the ‘exit ticket’ and would love to hear more about that.

  4. Pre-, mid-, and post- project assessments, check-ins and restorative circles are all great ways to help students to reflect on their own work.

    Another way is having them write artist’s statements. It requires a lot of coaching at first, but incorporating them as part of a project can be very beneficial. In my experience, this technique is most effective when used with choice-based projects. When students design either part of all of their own assignment it ensures buy-in and makes it easier for them to write about the experience.

    • Kathleen Anderson says:

      Artist statements….also a great literacy attachment and the coaching pays off. Thank you for all your comments!

  5. Daniela Shumate says:

    I Use Artist Statement cards. Students describe their project and reflect on the process as well as outcome. I can gauge what they really liked, what they would improve upon and what they learned (elements). Artist Statements are no longer than 4 sentences.

    • Kathleen Anderson says:

      This is an exciting night – all of these ideas which are not just ideas but in place in the classroom setting. What would the artist statement include? Thank you for your comments this week!

  6. Kay B. says:

    I think using “Think-Pair-Share” helps students to process their ideas on these more complex questions. Allowing students to bounce their ideas off a fellow classmate gives them time to reflect before sharing out with the whole class. I also think Viviana’s idea on exit cards is wonderful especially if you only have a few minutes left in class.

    • Kathleen Anderson says:

      Thank you for commenting. I’m excited that peer exchange is a part of the classroom day and the idea of sharing with one before sharing with many is valuable.

  7. Madeleine says:

    Our curriculum guidelines include students will write daily so any journaling of reflections fits into my plans. Reviewing one’s successes and challenges throughout a creative activity is important. With my students in table groups they can support each other, reflect aloud. An “exit” card with thoughts, questions, concerns would allow me to follow up the next class addressing common issues and individual needs more efficiently.

  8. Kathleen Anderson says:

    It is nice they are in table groups instead of individual desks so they can support each other in project work. Thank you for your comments!

  9. Rachel Blumenthal says:

    I like the idea of an exit ticket as well. In my classroom, I use a reading reflection sheet in which students write one comment or question they had about what we read that day. It can be used for all grade levels because they can write something as simple as asking what a vocabulary word meant, or as complex as asking why a character acted the way he/she did. We can also use this reflection with regard to illustrations or photographs within the readings that we are doing.

    • Kathleen Anderson says:

      Thanks, Rachel. I like your suggestion of a reading reflection sheet and that it can be as simple as a word or a complex question.

  10. Ellen Rosenthal says:

    I also use exit tickets, formal written reflections at the end of lessons, short warm-ups to respond to the previous days lessons, the think-pair-share, activity in addition to formal and informal verbal critiques.

    I don’t use all of the above for each lesson, but choose which one is most appropriate.

    All of these help ensure that students think about their artwork and it helps elevate it from a just “hands on” activity to a true art lesson that is meaningful to them on higher thinking levels.

    • Kathleen Anderson says:

      Thank you for your response. It is great to see so many participants on the same “wave length” about critiquing student work in a variety of ways which also include sharing between students.

  11. Katie Cushman says:

    After I do my introduction and they are creating their art at their tables, I can walk around and have quiet conversation with each child

  12. How can you carve out time in the busy school schedule to ask similar questions and then give time for students to think about them in relationship to their projects?

    In the classroom time can be taken during the first and last few minutes of class time to respond an essential question (from the day before) as review to check for student understanding. At the and of class the same question or information can be discussed again and function as an exit ticket. I might also begin with small group discussion with a graphic organizer to make a list and create a class list after sharing out

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